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Turtuk - Apricot capital of Ladakh

Updated on May 4, 2013

Paradise, just a overnight trip from Ladakh

Turtuk is a small village, about 9 hours scenic drive from Leh (capital of Ladakh), growing apricots, walnuts and a variety of greens and welcoming tourists with a beautiful smile.

It kind of misses the heavy snowfall, it has Shyok river flowing all the year keeping it all green unlike rest of Ladakh. About 300+ families stay happily together in Youl & Farol sides of Turtuk

Its a day long drive from Leh, passing through Khardung-La (highest motorable road at 18,380 feet), taking Bactrian camel ride in Nubra valley, visiting Diskit monastery, Having the free "chai" at army camp in Partappur, driving on the historical Chalunka bridge, seeing K2 the second highest mountain peak in the world, and almost reaching line of control with Pakistan


History of Turtuk

Turtuk is part of original Baltistan, strategically located on a feeder road of the Silk Route going on to Central Asia via Skardu and Yarkand. People here came from Turki, Turkey about 400 years ago

We had the pleasure of listening the history from the king himself, The Khan of Turtuk, Mohammad Khan Kacho of the Yabgo Dynasty of Chorbat Khaplu. Please see video below

Finding Turtuk

How & when to visit Turtuk

Best time to visit Turtuk is March - September, when the roads from Leh to Nubra Valley to Turtuk are in decent condition to drive. Turtuk is much warmer than Leh

There is Navroze festival on 21st March, which gives great start to tourist season with polo, folk dancing and get togethers

It is best to rent a four wheel drive vehicle from Leh (unless you are adventurous enough for riding Khardung-La pass on Enfield bullets). Start at 6.30 am from Leh, winding through hair pin bends, admiring the cyclist biking up the road, looking at the sharp peaks with snow flakes, reach Khardung-La pass at 18,380 feet. Ensure you climb a few steps up the highest gompa in the world, and pause for a while to get lost looking at the beautiful peaks, and some great music in background, flowing through the colorful flags. A moment to remember whole your life

Then descend to Nubra Valley, looking at great canyon formations, and noting the varying colors, pass through the highest desert in the world, and stop for a ride on Bactrian camels, which probably have their routes through the Silk Route connection. Stop for a quick lunch whenever you feel like and be greeted with "Sab kuch milta hai". Then pass though to army camp at Partappur for a free chai, with a backdrop of some spectacular views. Then pass through the Chalunka bridge (which was strategically located in 1971 war), go through village of Bogdang (which is also totally different than Ladakh, and also Turtuk, and very conservative). And finally reach Turtuk, around 5 pm in the evening, to get surprised with hospitality in the paradise of Turtuk

Things not to miss in Turtuk

  • Apricots, mulberries & Walnuts. Ask for the best apricots, which are so juicy and soft. Buy plenty as this is cheapest place on earth to buy them
  • Eat the balti food of muskut and kisir—made with buckwheat and walnut, roasted barley porridge, sun-dried tomato and garlic chutney, yogurt flavoured with a fragrant green herb called tsamik
  • Go around the areas of Yaul & Farol, to see how the village is self sufficient. Look for rural engineering of stone made fridges, to keep food cool & dry for whole year, and also the wheat mill which runs with flowing water turbine
  • Take photos with everyone who agrees, not many will say "no" if you request with a smile
  • Meet The Khan of Turtuk, Mohammad Khan Kacho, and take a tour of his house
  • Look for the palace in the mountains, and the story how Turkis were once defeated in Turtuk by invaders
  • Look at the Tyakshi mountain, and ask for the army stories from the 1971 war, and feel how close you are even now to the army camps on both sides of the line of control
  • Stay in the eco resort camps and wake up to a beautiful sunny morning

Best place to stay in Turtuk

Make you stay further memorable by staying in Turtuk Holiday Camps, which are managed by two brothers Rehmatullah and Ataullah. Apart from the whole staff is so friendly and helpful, you almost stay in their house and experience the hospitality. Rehmatullah was so nice to take us around the villages, telling story about every small thing, and answering our questions from Indo-Pak war to how tourism is good and bad for future of Turtuk

King of Turtuk
King of Turtuk

Find Turtuk on map

show route and directions
A markerTurtuk -
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Apricot capital of Ladakh

B markerLeh -
get directions

Capital of Ladakh


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    • tanveerbadyari profile image

      tanveerbadyari 4 years ago

      I have heard about turtuk, but have only traveled to deskit,hundar,sumoor & panamick in nubra. Thanks for the informative hub. Hopefully this year i will travel to turtuk.